The Life of a Day (by Tom Hennen)
Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks, which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. Usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, such as autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we want to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when, we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze perfumed from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.
We’ve all heard the phrase, out of the Christian tradition that “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” And yet how often it goes in one ear and out the other? Do we do that? How do we do that? This poem gives me reminders about how to do that and it begins with awareness doesn’t it? Seeing each day as a unique day to be alive. Knowing that in the end, there are so few of them. Not letting the day just pass without noticing. Without noticing something that moves us with delight or gratitude. And it’s so simple to do? Isn’t it? A colored leaf, the sunlight, the blue sky. The importance of not wishing our days away, remembering that they will pass more quickly than we’d imagine and we may be at our last one soon enough. To examine the day, to not be bored by it, but find the magic and wonder in it. To remember our lives don’t start tomorrow, but today in this moment, right here and right now. So much is going well in the day if we only could see. And I’m not talking about just physically seeing but spiritually. It reminds me of an expression I’ve heard before that gives me perspective – “A thousand things went right today.” In all the challenges of life and even the imaginary ones that I often create, there is so much right and good in the world and in my life. And maybe looking at nature can remind me of this truth. To feel the breeze and notice it, to taste an apple and enjoy it thoroughly, to pick up a dry leaf and really look at it. This is the day. So much goodness. So many wonders. May I never wish it away.